Let me start this by saying that I like Tyrann Mathieu.
I’ve enjoyed watching him as a player and interviewing him after games.
The “Honey Badger” is a likable guy and almost everyone wants to see him get his life in order and once again find success on the football field.
I truly hope #7 is back on the field in Tiger Stadium for the 2013 season. But, my gut tells me Tyrann will never play another game in Baton Rouge. The next time Tyrann straps on pads he’ll be doing so at an NFL rookie camp.
Last month, Mathieu was dismissed from the football program for reportedly failing multiple drug tests.
After his shocking dismissal the former St. Augustine High School star entered a rehab center in Houston, Texas and is being mentored by former NBA player and coach John Lucas.
The decision has been made — by Tyrann, his parents and Lucas — that the Honey Badger will return to LSU as a student. His family will pay his tution since he’s lost his scholarship. Mathieu is no longer part of the Tigers football team in any way shape or form.
The general consensus is that the Mathieu family is hoping that if Tyrann shows the LSU coaches and administrators he’s a changed person they’ll reinstate him to the LSU football team for the 2013 season.
I think the Mathieu family has been given bad advice.
Numerous sources at LSU (that are rock solid) say coach Les Miles has not given any indication that Mathieu will ever be reinstated.
The source I spoke with told me that If Mathieu is reinststed — which is a very big if — it will be on LSU’s terms, not the terms Tyrann and John Lucas come up with.
My LSU source says Lucas is guiding the Mathieu family down a difficult road and putting LSU in a difficult situation.
If LSU does not reinstate Mathieu the spin will be that the school turned it’s back on a kid who turned his life around. If LSU takes Tyrann back they risk compromising the integrity of the program.
Mathieu and his family will need assurances from LSU sooner rather than later. NCAA undergraduate players have to declare for the NFL draft by the second week of January. If LSU will not give Tyrann an answer about rejoining the team for the 2013 season, Mathieu will more than likely have to declare for the NFL draft.
Tyrann will be drafted but experts disagree on which round he’ll be selected in. Some say he could go as high as the 2nd — others believe he could fall all the way to the 6th or 7th. I personally believe he’ll land in the 5th round and will carve out a nice NFL career as a special teams ace and nickel/dime cornerback/safety.
That said, I also belive that Tyrann should play at least another season of college football. I’m also sure NFL coaches and executives want to see Tyrann back on the field before drafting him. I’m sure they want to see he can handle playing football while controlling the outside adversity which dragging him down. If Tyrann returned to college football in 2013 and entered the 2014 draft I think he could move back into the 2nd round.
LSU tried to help Tyrann find a new place to play. The school all but begged him to transfer — yet he chose to return.
I hate to sound mean, but the harsh reality is that as a mentor John Lucas is failing. Lucas should have helped Tyrann cope with the fact that LSU told him he’d never play for the Tigers again. Creating false hope could lead to another hard fall. LSU told Tyrann to leave. He should have left.
When Zach Mettenberger got into trouble at the University of Georgia he had to transfer to a junior college. After leaving JUCO did Mettenberger say he wanted to return to UGA? No. He had to move on and start a new chapter somewhere else.
Mathieu should have moved on. Tyrann needs to get away from the so-called friends who dragged him down. Get away from the limelight of being a big star in Baton Rouge. Tyrann should be starting fresh at a division I program outside of the SEC.
LSU would have blocked Mathieu from transferring to an SEC program, but athletic department officials more than likely would have allowed him to transfer to a program in another conference — and as the reigning Bednarik Award winner — dozens of programs would have lined up to offer scholarships. I could have easily seen Tyrann playing for Charlie Strong at Louisville or RichRod at Arizona.
Imagine this: Tyrann transfers to the University of Houston. Per NCAA rules, he sits out the 2012 season (using a redshirt). Tyrann can still be around the Cougars football program — he can wokout with the team, use study-hall/academic resources and have coaches and players keep an eye on him. In Houston, Mathieu is also close to John Lucas in case he needs to be mentored. The Honey Badger gets to start fresh in a new city away from the bad influences that dragged him down in Baton Rouge/NOLA. Tyrann still gets to be around football and can return to the field to start the 2013 season.
Instead, Tyrann will be on his own (his parent work in New Orleans and Lucas is based in Houston) in the place where he got into trouble with no football in his life. Hope is not a plan — Hoping Tyrann walks a straight path and hoping that LSU takes him back is not a plan.
My points is, I just don’t agree with the path the Mathieus’ are heading down. The road to recovery is a personal journey and we all hope Tyrann comes out okay — I just believe Tyrann would have been better served going another route.